imatu_comments_on_sonaThe Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU) is cautiously optimistic following the delivery of last night’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).

“We welcome the President’s commitment to revitalise local government, intensify the fight against corruption and ensure that qualified and experienced personnel are deployed in municipalities. We are also particularly pleased that he took the time to acknowledge those municipalities that consistently deliver good performances in audits, expenditure on municipal infrastructure grants and service delivery. IMATU would also like to congratulate Nkangala District Municipality, Cacadu District Municipality, Zululand District Municipality, Umzinyathi District Municipality, Ilembe District Municipality, Knysna Local Municipality, West Coast District Municipality, Matzikama Local Municipality, Mossel Bay Local Municipality, Breede Valley Local Municipality and Steve Tshwete Local Municipality for achieving consistently positive results,” commented IMATU Acting General Secretary, Stephanie Gray.

While it is important to acknowledge success stories, only 11 of the 278 municipalities in the country have been highlighted as examples of good governance and service delivery, indicating that much more work needs to be done in the local government sector. In addition to tackling the challenges of unemployment, infrastructure maintenance and development and rapid urbanization, IMATU believes that the Government will also need to address the increasingly violent nature of service delivery protests and the destruction of public infrastructure.

While IMATU fully endorses the National Development Plan (NDP), the union strongly believes that in order to achieve growth, development and prosperity in South Africa, the NDP will need to provide an accurate and effective roadmap to deal with the serious challenges of poverty and inequality.

IMATU is encouraged by the President’s pledge to respond decisively to the country’s energy constraints, provide assistance and support to struggling municipalities, continue implementation of the National Infrastructure Plan, eradicate the bucket system throughout the country and resolve the City of Joburg’s billing system problems. The President also promised to create additional job opportunities through the extension of the Community Work Programmes (CWP) and Expanded Public Works Programmes (EPWP). IMATU welcomes the creation of job opportunities, but reinforces its position that vacant positions in Municipalities must first be filled with permanent employees.

“We believe that decisive governance, adequate resources and the filling of vacancies in the Local Government sector will translate into a well-functioning service delivery model. Last night the President declared ‘together let us move local government forward’, IMATU has already taken this challenge on board and will intensify the roll out of its let’s get local government working campaign,” concluded Gray.